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Full text of "Floods in New York -- 1968"

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STATE OF NEW YORK 
CONSERVATION DEPARTMENT 
WATER RESOURCES COMMISSION 


FLOODS IN NEVw YORK - 1968 


By 


F. LUMAN ROBISON 
U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY 




FLOODS IN NEW YORK-1968 


By 


F. Luman Robison 
u.S. Geological Survey 


REPORT OF INVESTIGATION 
RI-9 


Prepared by 
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR 
GEOLOGICAL SURVEY 


in cooperation with 
NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION and 
NEW YORK STATE WATER RESOURCES COMMISSION 


STATE OF NEW YORK 
CONSERVATION DEPARTMENT 
WATER RESOURCES COMMISSION 


1969 




CONTENTS 


Page 


Introduction............................................ 1 
Outstanding floods, southeastern New York, May 29, 30... 2 
Summary of other floods................................. 4 
Des c rip t ion s 0 f f 100 d s . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 
January floods....................................... 13 
February floods...................................... 16 
March floods......................................... 16 
April floods......................................... 18 
May floods........................................... 18 
June floods.......................................... 22 
July floods.......................................... 26 
August floods........................................ 27 
S e p tern be r f 1 0 0 d s . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 
October floods....................................... 28 
November floods...................................... 29 
December floods...................................... 29 


ILLUSTRATIONS 


Figure 1. Map showing precipitation and storm 
rainfall, May 28, 29, 1968, in 
southeastern New york....... ..... ...... ..... 5 


2. Stage hydrograph for Bronx River at 
Bronxville, N. Y., May 28-30,1968.......... 6 


3. Map of southeastern New York showing 
location of sites where flood damage 
from the storm of May 28, 29, 1968 
was reported................................ 7 


4. Map showing location of flood- 
determination points for the flood 
of May 29, 30, 1968, in southeastern 
New york.................................... 8 


- iii - 



ILLUSTRATIONS (Continued) 


Page 


Figure 5. Profile of Ramapo River from Tuxedo 
Park, N. Y. to the gaging station 
near Mahwah, N. J., and of Mahwah 
River from State Highway 59 at 
Suffern, N. Y. to mouth, flood of 
May 29,30,1968............................ 11 


6. Map of New York State showing location 
of sites where damage from floods 
was reported in 1968, excepting 
flood of May 29,30......................... 12 


TABLE 


Table 1. Flood stages and discharges in southeastern 
New York, May 29, 30, 1968................... 9 


- iv - 



FLOODS IN NEW YORK-1968 


By 


F. Luman Robison 1/ 


INTRODUCTION 


This report presents information on floods reported in New 
York State during the calendar year 1968. It was prepared at 
the request of the New York State Department of Transportation 
in accordance with the provisions of an agreement between the 
New York State Division of Water Resources and the U.S. Geolo- 
gical Survey for a cooperative statewide program to investigate 
the water resources of the State. 


The report was compiled in the New York District, Water 
Resources Division, U.S. Geological Survey, under the direction 
of Gara1d G. Parker, former District Chief. The information 
was obtained from newspaper clippings, from the U.S. Weather 
Bureau publications "Storm Data and Unusual Weather Phenomena, 
1968" and "Daily Precipitation Records," from records of the 
U.S. Geological Survey, and from reports of the U.S. Army Corps 
of Engineers. 


1/ Hydraulic Engineer, U.S. Geological Survey, Albany, N. Y. 


- 1 - 



OUTSTANDING FLOODS, SOUTHEASTERN NEW YORK, MAY 29, 30 


Floods were reported someplace in New York in every month 
of 1968, but at most sites the resulting damage was not great. 
The most serious flood event of the year occurred in the south- 
eastern part of the State at the end of May. 


Very heavy rains of 3.0 to 6.3 inches centered in the 
extreme southeastern counties caused severe flooding of buildings, 
streets, highways, crops, and low-lying areas in Ulster, Orange, 
Westchester, Rockland, and Nassau Counties and the boroughs of 
New York City. Thousands of acres of valuable truck-garden 
crops were inundated in Orange County. 


In most areas the heavy rain began about 10 p.m. on May 28 
and ended before noon the next day. The maximum official 
U.S. Weather Bureau measurement of 5.54 inches was recorded at 
Dobbs Ferry, Westchester County. At Central Park in New York 
City a reading of 4.88 inches broke a 60-year record for 24-hour 
rainfall. At Suffern, Rockland County, and Greenwood Lake, 
Orange County, unofficial measurements of 6.3Q inches and 6.07 
inches, respectively, were reported. The extent and distribution 
of rainfall is shown in figure 1. This figure also includes a 
list of rainfall measurements at selected sites. 


The intensity of the storm caused streams to rise rapidly. 
Figure 2 shows the rise and recession of the Bronx River at 
Bronxville, where the discharge recorded was the greatest since 
the establishment of the gaging station in 1944. The discharge 
of the Mamaroneck River at Mamaroneck was the second highest in 
the 24-year record. The only long-term record in the Ramapo 
River basin is near Mahwah, N. J., about a mile below the New 
York-New Jersey State line. At this station, with 50 years of 
record, the peak discharge on May 29 was exceeded only by the 
floods of October 1903 and October 1955. On several small streams 
in Rockland County, where gages were installed in 1959 and 1960, 
the discharges from this storm exceeded any previously recorded. 


Flood-frequency relationships are not well defined for the 
area affected by this flood. Manmade influences due to urban- 
ization affect the peak discharge for many streams. Gaging- 
station records for small areas are generally of short duration 
so frequency relations for these small areas are uncertain. On 
the basis of the regional flood-frequency relationships, this 
flood had a recurrence interval of about 25 years for the long- 
term station on Ramapo River near Mahwah, N. J., with a 
comparatively large drainage area of 118 square miles. A study 
of the peaks listed in table 1 indicate that this flood was at 
least a 25-year event for many of the small streams. 


Figure 3 shows sites where flood damage from the storm of 
May 28, 29 was reported. The sources of the damage reports are 
included in the section "Descriptions of Floods." 


- 2 - 



The storm indirectly caused the death of a man from Blauvelt 
when his motorcycle collided with a car while riding east in the 
westbound lane of State Highway 59, the eastbound lane having 
been closed by flooding. 


Many streets and cellars were flooded in the villages of 
Orange and Rockland Counties. Several families were forced to 
leave their homes. The village of Suffern was nearly isolated 
for a time when both east and west approaches of State Highway 59 
were blocked by high water. No total estimate of the monetary 
damage caused by the flood has been reported. However, an 
indication of the amount of flood damage suffered was .the declar- 
ation by the u.S. Small Business Administration that Orange and 
Rockland Counties were disaster areas. 


Table 1 contains peak discharges for many streams in the 
flood area, with corresponding maximum peaks of record prior to 
May 29 for comparison. Data for some of the May flood peaks were 
obtained from records at u.S. Geological Survey gaging stations 
while others are the results of indirect measurements of peak 
discharge made after the flood by Survey engineers. Sites where 
flood discharges were determined are shown in figure 4. 


Figure 5 is a profile of the Ramapo River from Tuxedo Park, 
N. Y. to the gaging station near Mahwah, N. J., and of the Mahwah 
River from State Highway 59 at Suffern, N. Y. to the mouth for 
the flood of May 29, 30, 1968. 


- 3 - 



SUMMARY OF OTHER FLOODS 


Except for the floods in southeastern New York at the end 
of May, reported flood damages in 1968 were only moderate. 
During the first 3 months of the year, flooding from heavy 
rains, melting snow, and ice jams was reported from many areas. 
At Silver Creek and Sunset Bay, both in Chautauqua County, the 
nearly annual flooding from ice jams forced the evacuation of 
several families. At Sunset Bay the flood stage was determined 
by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to have a 10-year recurrence, 
with a damage estimate of $60,000. For the rest of the year, 
flooding of streets, highways, and cellars was reported at some- 
place during each month. Although measured rainfall of over 
4.0 inches was reported in April, June, July, and September from 
individual storms, flooding was mostly local and the damages 
small. Sites where damage from flooding was reported in 1968, 
excepting the floods of May 29, 30, are shown in figure 6. 


- 4 - 



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Figure 4.--Location of flood-determination points for the 
flood of May 29, 30, 1968, in southeastern 
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DESCRIPTIONS OF FLOODS 


The news items used in the following descriptions of floods 
were taken from the indicated publications with minor editing by' 
the author. 


January Floods 


USWB STORM DATA AND UNUSUAL WEATHER PHENOMENA, January 30, 31 


Thawing temperatures, melting snow and moderate amounts of 
rain combined with ice jams to cause considerable stream flooding 
in southwestern tier from Chautauqua to Steuben Counties. 
Twenty-five families forced to evacuate near mouth of Cattaraugus 
Creek. Ice jam broken by dynamite to ease serious flood threat 
to village of Silver Creek . Ice jam and high water in Chemung 
River at Campbell , Steuben County, flooded nearby streets and 
basement of school. Moderate rains, snowmelt and frozen ground 
caused scattered flooding of basements, yards and streets in 
Niagara Falls , Lockport and Rochester areas. 


BUFFALO COURIER EXPRESS, January 30 


The village of Silver Creek in Chautauqua County got its 
first taste of seasonal flooding Monday, the 29th, from a combi- 
nation of rain, heavy thawing and runoff. Two streets and about 
15 homes were hit by flood waters from Walnut and Silver Creeks 
in the northwest section of the village. Some residents on 
Lincoln and Montgomery Streets reported from two to five feet of 
water in their cellars. Water reached a depth of about two feet 
in the two streets at 8 p.m. Monday, then began to recede. 


On Grand Island , Niagara County, volunteer firemen were 
called out Monday night to pump out flooded basements of numerous 
homes. 


NORTH TONAWANDA NEWS, January 30 


The January rain which began Saturday and continued through 
early today, combined with melting ice and snow, caused minor 
flooding in the area south of Buffalo. East Aurora appeared to 
have been the hardest hit community. Main Street was closed to 
traffic for a time early today and several side streets were 
clogged with water. Cazenovia Creek overflowed its banks during 
the night but the waters receded shortly before dawn. Minor 
flooding was reported in Depew , Niagara Falls , Hamburg and 
Cheektowaga . In the suburban towns of Pendleton , Wheatfield and 
Amherst fields and some basements were flooded. 


- 13 - 



NIAGARA FALLS GAZETTE, January 30 


Monday's steady rain and warm temperatures caused a rash of 
minor flooding in various areas of Niagara County today. Many 
fields in the area resembled miniature ponds and numerous home 
owners were faced with the problem of removing water which had 
accumulated on cellar floors. 


DUNKIRK GRAPE BELT, January 31 


The nearly annual occurrence has taken place. Cattaraugus 
Creek at Sunset Bay overflowed and forced 25 families to flee 
their homes. Streets in Sunset Bay were covered with from 8 to 
10 inches of water which flooded some cellars. Most of the 
25 families who fled their homes left before the flood waters 
became high enough to necessitate evacuation by boat. 


DUNKIRK OBSERVER, January 31 


The immediate danger is over, the flood waters have receded 
and all but one of the 25 families forced from their homes in 
Sunset Bay Tuesday have returned. Evacuation may again become 
necessary if blasting fails to remove the ice jam in Cattaraugus 
Creek which extends from the mouth upstream to Versailles. 


ROCHESTER DEM CHRONICLE, January 31 


The four-day spring-like thaw caused flooding in suburban 
streets and cellars throughout Monroe County yesterday. Blocked 
or overloaded storm sewers were responsible for most of the 
flooding of cellars and basement apartments. 


EAST AURORA ADVERTISER, February 1 


The January thaw brought the inevitable flooding of Tannery 
Brook in East Aurora Monday evening. Water backed up by ice 
jams at various bridges caused minor flooding of streets and 
cellars. 


DUNKIRK OBSERVER, February 2 


The danger of further flooding at Sunset Bay has passed with 
high winds helping to break up the massive ice jam in Cattaraugus 
Creek. Thick gooey mud still covers streets, sidewalks, and 
lawns near the creek's shore where the water was deepest. 


- 14 - 



MT MORRIS ENTERPRISE, February 7 


An ice jam at Jones Bridge on the Genesee River last 
Wednesday led to a virtual closing of all but one gate in the 
Mt. Morris flood control dam here. It was feared that a breakup 
of the jam might cause downstream flooding. At 8 a.m. Wednesday 
the water level at the dam had risen to 45 feet from an empty 
pool on Monday. 


REPORT OF FLOODS, 29-30 January, 1968, WESTERN NEW YORK AND 
NORTHERN OHIO IN THE BUFFALO DISTRICT, July 1968, U.S.. ARMY 
ENGINEER DISTRICT, BUFFALO 


Cattaraugus Creek, swollen by snow melt and steady rains 
began bringing large ice floes downstream on the morning of 
30 January. Conditions became worse when the reported strong 
current of 6 to 7 miles per hour began breaking up ice jams that 
had formed at several upstream bridges. As the large chunks of 
ice flowed downstream towards the mouth at Lake Erie, they 
became lodged on a sand bar causing a severe ice jam. Ice was 
reported to have been backed up from the sand bar to Versailles 
about three miles upstream. The water was flowing underneath 
the ice through the upstream reaches but not at the mouth. 


Streets in Sunset Bay were covered with between 8 to 10 
inches of water. A total of 25 families were forced to flee 
their homes. It was reported that fourteen families had to be 
rescued from their homes by boat. Shelter and meals were 
furnished at the Irving Community House on Route 5 by the 
Chautauqua County Chapter of the American Red Cross. 


Damages determined by Buffalo District personnel were found 
to be the result of flooding of cellars in those homes having 
basements, and first floor flooding of cottages and commercial 
establishments. Damage to boats and marine equipment was much 
less than during the September 1967 flood because during the 
1967 flood most of the boats in the area were still in the water 
and were simply torn free or wrecked. Many of the roads in the 
affected area were flooded and required repair. The total 
damages were estimated from an existing stage-damage curve in the 
Interim Report on Cattaraugus Creek Harbor, New York, December 
1964. The estimated damage was $60,000 based on April 1968 cost 
index. 


Flood stage at Sunset Bay as determined by the Corps of 
Engineers indicates the flood has a 10-year recurrence interval. 


- 15 - 



February Floods 


SYRACUSE HERALD AMERICAN, February 4 


Fire department, power, and telephone company personnel were 
busy yesterday cleaning up water that flooded several streets and 
a bowling alley after a beaver dam broke in Baldwinsville's 
Tannery Creek. The creek was plugged up at West Genesee Street 
and flooded streets with up to four feet of water. Parts of 
Elizabeth, Warner, and Oneida Avenues were flooded as well as the 
parking lot and bowling lanes of the Sports Bowl. More than 
50 cars were flooded above the engines. Many cars required 
towing. 


COBLESKILL TIMES JOURNAL, February 7 


Ice jams in Schoharie Creek caused lowland residents to eye 
the swollen streams warily this past weekend as mild temperatures 
caused ice to break up in the creek. The Little League ball park 
in Central Bridge was flooded under a foot of water, ice, and 
debris late Friday night. 


March Floods 


LONG ISLAND DAILY PRESS, March 13 


Flooding from heavy rains this morning caused one of the 
worst traffic jams the Long Island Expressway has ever experienced. 
Manhattan-bound traffic was backed up 9 1/2 miles from the Maurice 
Avenue exit in Maspeth to the Nassau County line. The westbound 
lanes were flooded by water about two-feet deep. The Belt Parkway 
was closed to east and west-bound traffic this morning due to 
flooding in Ozone Park . The Weather Bureau said 1.61 inches of 
rain fell between 9:07 a.m. yesterday and 8 o'clock this morning. 


SCHENECTADY GAZETTE, March 18 


A small stream jammed with ice flooded a few streets and 
yards in Johnstown . In Gloversville one street was slightly 
flooded by a small stream. 


ALBANY TIMES UNION, March 19 


Rainfall of 0.88 of an inch in the past two days caused the 
closing of the Alplaus Road in the Town of Glenville. 


- 16 - 



STATEN ISLAND ADVANCE, March 19 


From many sections of Staten Island flooding of streets, 
yards, and basements was reported following the more than 
1 1/2 inches of rain on the 17th and 18th. 


WALDEN CITIZEN HERALD, March 20 


Overflowing of the Wallkill River and tributaries with 
flooding of fields and roads caused by the heaviest rainfall of 
the year to date in the area, was reported at Montgomery . 


STAMFORD MIRROR RECORDER, March 20 


Rain started falling Saturday night, continued through 
Sunday and Monday night resulting in a fall of over two inches. 
The runoff because of heavy, deep frost in the ground, swelled 
streams and resulted in mild flooding in lowlands along the 
Schoharie Creek. The road between Prattsville and Gilboa was 
covered by ice cakes at one point. 


CANAJOHARIE COURIER STANDARD, March 21 


Melting snow and steady rain over the past weekend, 
continuing up to late Monday night, resulted in many outlying 
creeks flooding adjoining fields and roads, some highways being 
closed to traffic. The more than two inches of rain also flooded 
some cellars. At several spots in the Town of Canajoharie , water 
from Canajoharie C
eek and other smaller streams flooded some 
roads at various times. 


NEWBURGH-BEACON NEWS, March 23 


In the village and town of Fishkil1 several cellars were 
reported to be flooded. 


KINGSTON FREEMAN, March 25 


After a weekend of rain, snow and high winds streams in many 
Ulster County areas were running full. In some lowlands especially 
along Esopus Creek minor flooding was reported. 


CANASTOTA BEE JOURNAL, March 28 


,/ 
Heavy rains over the past weekend caused flooding of some 
streets and cellars in Canastota. 


- 17 - 



April Floods 


USWB STORM DATA AND UNUSUAL WEATHER PHENOMENA, April 24 


Heavy rains of 2.0 to over 3.5 inches fell east of a line 
running from Western Catskills to Lake Champlain with nearly 
2.0 inches in the greater New York City area. Heaviest totals 
of 3.9 inches at Catskill, Greene County and 4.1 inches at Slide 
Mountain, Ulster County. Local flooding of many highways and 
some lowlands along tributary streams in the mid-Hudson River 
Valley. Highways temporarily closed in northern Catskills from 
landslides loosened by rain. Storm, one of heaviest April rains 
in eastern valleys in many years, was beneficial in terminating 
long dry spell and extreme fire hazard in grass and woodlands. 


PORT CHESTER ITEM, April 25 


A deluge of nearly 3.0 inches of rain in Westchester County 
in 24 hours, April 24-25, caused minor flooding on the parkways 
last night. 


NEW YORK TIMES, April 25 


More than two inches of rain fell in the metropolitan area 
yesterday. Parkways in southern Westchester and parts of Queens 
were flooded and traffic was slowed elsewhere. 


May Floods 


OLEAN TIMES HERALD, May 16 


A flash flood Wednesday night washed out a section of State 
Route 275, the East Notch Road from Friendship southerly to 
Richburg . 


USWB STORM DATA AND UNUSUAL WEATHER PHENOMENA, May 28, 29 


Very heavy rains of 3.0 to 5.5 inches centered in extreme 
southeastern sections as moderate to heavy rains were general 
over the remainder of the State. Heaviest official storm total 
5.54 inches at Dobbs Ferry , Westchester County. A 24-hour total 
of 4.88 inches at Central Park, New York City, broke a 60-year 
record for May established in 1908. Severe flooding of cities, 
villages, highways, crops and all low-lying areas was wide spread 
in Ulster , Orange , Westchester , Rockland , and Nassau Counties as 
well as in the boroughs of New York City . Home basements, stores, 
bridges and small dams sustained damage. Thousands of acres of 
valuable truck crops inundated in Orange County with heavy loss 
of onions, lettuce, potatoes and other crops. Several express- 
ways in New York City temporarily closed by deep water accumula- 
tions. Wallkill River above flood stage in Orange and Ulster 


- 18 - 



County for several hours as were Scho
arie Creek and small 
streams in the Catskills. Streamflow in five-county area 
heaviest since the hurricane-caused floods of October 1955. 


THE WHITE PLAINS REPORTER DISPATCH, May 29 


Heavy rains last night and early this morning caused 
flooding and the uprooting of trees in several areas of White 
Plains . A few streets and basements were flooded. Traffic on 
the Bronx River Parkway had to be rerouted because of floods 
under bridges. 


THE WHITE PLAINS REPORTER DISPATCH, May 31 


The two-day rainfall of 5.54 inches recorded at the U.S. 
Weather Bureau gage at Dobbs Ferry left Westchester County 
residents with a soggy Memorial Day holiday. Portions of most 
major highways in the county were flooded. Portions of the 
Hutchinson River and Bronx River Parkways were closed for a few 
hours. 


THE NYACK JOURNAL NEWS, May 31 


Rockland County was still hung out to dry this morning 
after a record 6.3 inch rainfall, the worst storm in 60 years. 
The storm indirectly caused at least one death, drove scores of 
families from their homes and closed down many of the county's 
main traffic arteries before the waters began to recede today. 
Normally picturesque water courses such as Pascack, Sparkill and 
Minisceongo Creeks and Nauraushaun Brook overflowed their banks 
and spread silt, sand, and muddy water over roads and lawns. 
Sparkill Creek in Orangeburg submerged the new county sewer 
plant now under construction on Route 340. Construction on 
Route 304 caused flooding in Pearl River . The work there has 
interrupted the normal flow of water through the Dexter Co. 
property causing the water to run into the street. Flooding on 
Route 59 was indirectly the cause of the death of a 48-year old 
motorcyclist from Blauvelt . He was killed early Thursday morning 
when he collided with a car while riding east in a westbound lane. 
The eastbound lanes were closed by flooding. The village of 
Suffern was virtually cut by high water on both the east and west 
approaches of Route 59. Two feet of water on Route 202 and wash- 
outs near the Thruway overpass left Orange Avenue as the only 
major entrance road of the village unaffected by the deluge. The 
Spring Valley area was hit hard with severe flooding along Pascack 
Creek near Union Road and Memorial Park. The basement apartments 
in the Survey Building were flooded, forcing the evacuation of 
six families to the village hall. Memorial Park was closed to all 
traffic. Many streets were flooded, some cellars had water 
flowing through them. In Haverstraw , the Village-on-the-Green 
suffered heavily as water poured into cellars. 


- 19 - 



!
'" 
,!i:
i' 

4". 


THE ROCKLAND COUNTY RECORD, May 31 


Many Rockland County home owners spent yesterday with mops, 
pumps, and borrowed equipment removing water from basements that 
varied from a few inches in depth in Stony Point to almost three 
feet in flooded Suffern basements. The athletic field in Suffern 
was covered with about three feet of water yesterday. Fast water 
in Minisceongo Creek eroded an earthen bank at Willow Grove in 
Haverstraw and almost plunged a house trailer into the creek. 
One of the hardest hit flood areas was Squires Gate development 
in Suffern where dozens of two-family homes were flooded by 
spillover from Mahwah River. 


THE MIDDLETOWN TIMES HERALD RECORD, May 31 


Rampaging rivers jumped their banks, bridges washed away, 
and roads covered with up to four feet of water as an unexpected 
storm pelted the area. Thousands of basements were flooded, 
muckland crops threatened, and roads throughout the area buckled 
and caved in. The downpour that often reached torrential pro- 
portions began about 10 p.m. Tuesday in most areas and dropped 
to a drizzle about 14 hours later. In some places it was the 
heaviest rainfall since 1903 and produced flooding comparable to 
that of 1955. The estimate of damage to Monroe town roads was 
$20,000. Three roads were closed and on others traffic was 
interrupted temporarily. 


An unusual accident involved a l3-year boy of Monroe . He 
and three companions were exploring a large pool of water behind 
Goose Pond Inn parking lot when he disappeared. Apparently he 
had fallen into a gorge and was sucked into a culvert and carried 
through 300 feet of underground pipe to Monroe Lake. The 
pressure was so great that when he reached the lake he was shot 
into the air. His injuries consisted only of a cut on the back 
of his head and leg and back bruises. After treatment at the 
hospital in Goshen he was released. 


The overflowing pond at center of Lakeside Trailer Park in 
Highland Mills forced several trailer owners to seek higher 
ground. 


Flood waters from the Wal1ki11 River washed out a section 
of the Pulaski Highway and flooded the fertile black farmland 
near Pine Island , placing about a quarter of this year's crops 
under a foot of water. 


In Ulster County the Shawungunk Kill caused extensive 
flooding of fields and some roads. About 200 yards of U1ster- 
vi1le Road near Pine Bush was inundated. 


- 20 - 



NEWBURGH-BEACON NEWS, May 31 


Walsh Road Bridge on the Newburgh-New Windsor line remained 
closed today following two days of flooding. Part of the 
Newburgh Housing Authority's Walsh Road public housing site was 
under water. Several roads in the town of Newburgh were reported 
to be flooded. The front entrance of a plant in Mountainville 
was under water. One home owner in Walden reported a pond on her 
front lawn more than four feet deep at one point. Route 207 was 
reported blocked this morning by overflowing water from Washing- 
ton Lake, the city's main reservoir. Serious cellar flooding was 
reported in Goshen . In Central Valley a small creek over ran its 
banks flooding some yards. In Monroe several residences sustained 
flood damage. 


NEWBURGH-BEACON NEWS, June 3 


Black dirt farms in the Chester area suffered considerable 
flooding of lettuce and onion crops from last week's storm. The 
monetary loss cannot be accurately assessed until the water has 
all drained off. The flooding was blamed on the water from 
Cromline Creek and drainage from the upland areas. 


NEWBURGH-BEACON NEWS, June 4 


One resident of the Town of Newburgh reported that parts of 
his farm were under four feet of water. 


WARWICK DISPATCH, June 5 


The heavy rain that fell last Wednesday and Thursday caused 
flooding of roads, fields and cellars of homes in many parts of 
the Town of Warwick. One of the hardest hit residential areas 
was Wickham Village where sections of roadway were washed out and 
water rose to several feet in depth in cellars. Farmers in muck- 
land areas and other sections of the town found fields and crops 
completely submerged. 


SUFFERN INDEPENDENT, June 5 


Mahwah River, a normally docile stream, last week turned 
into a rampaging river causing extensive property damage in Rock- 
land County. In Suffern, the most serious flooding occurred in 
Squire's Gate Park where half the houses were flooded. Backyards 
were flooded when the river rose more than seven feet. 


HAVERSTRAW TIMES, June 5 


In the flood of May 29 Cedar Pond Brook flooded parklands 
and streets in Stony Point . 


- 21 - 



SPRING VALLEY LEADER, June 12 


Orange and Rockland Counties were declared disaster areas by 
the u.S. Small Business Administration. This designation enabled 
residents who suffered damages to their homes or businesses in 
the May 29, 30 flood to borrow money at 3 percent to cover actual 
losses. 


USWB STORM DATA AND UNUSUAL WEATHER PHENOMENA, May 30 


Torrential rain occurred between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. in Bath- 
Thurston-Cameron area of Central Steuben County. Rainfall 
totaling 2.0 to 3.0 inches resulted in flash flooding along 
streets and highways especially in southwestern outskirts of the 
city of Bath . Large trailer home was moved off foundation and 
automobile was carried away by flood waters. Many lawns and 
other low lying areas were covered by mud and debris and some 
basements were flooded. 


June Floods 


USWB STORM DATA AND UNUSUAL WEATHER PHENOMENA, June 10 


Heavy downpours affected central sections of southern 
tier from Chemung to Delaware County during afternoon hours. 
Most serious was rapid flash flooding of creeks in and near the 
villages of Sidney Center , Northfield , and Franklin in Delaware 
County, caused by a cloudburst about 3:15 p.m. Several families 
marooned. Numerous basements flooded, streets and roads inundated 
or washed out, many acres of hay, corn, and grain crops heavily 
damaged around these villages. College library flooded at 
Binghamton causing considerable damage to books, etc. Heavy 
rains in southern outskirts and suburbs of Elmira resulted in 
widespread flooding as winds downed trees, limbs, and power 
lines. Section of highway washed out near Waverly , Tioga County. 


ALBANY KNICKERBOCKER NEWS, June 10 



 


Heavy local rain in Albany this morning forced the closing 
of three streets. 


BINGHAMTON PRESS, June 11 


The heaviest rainfall of the year took about an hour and a 
half yesterday to wash out roads, flood cellars, and cause 
general flood damage in the eastern and northern parts of Broome 
County. Binghamton's First Ward and its West Side, along with 
northern Johnson City and the Town of Maine appeared to get the 
worst of it. Glenwood Avenue, Lake Avenue, Clinton Street and 
the Prospect Street area in Binghamton were flooded with water 


- 22 - 



backing up into cellars and covering the streets. Several roads 
in the north part of the Town of Union were reported flooded. 
Little Choconut Creek which has caused heavy flooding in Johnson 
City did not go over its banks. 


ONEONTA STAR, June 11 


A flash flood in the Sidney Center area yesterday afternoon 
forced residents from their homes and resulted in considerable 
damage especially along Baker and Depot Streets. The heavy rain 
lasted only about an hour, but came with such force that Carrs 
Creek overflowed into area homes. Walton firemen were called out 
about 4:45 p.m. when a woman in Northfield found her home 
surrounded by flood water which was pouring into her basement. 
Warnings were issued throughout the area that the road to Sidney 
Center via Trout Creek was closed by the rising water. A number 
of families and animals had to be rescued by firemen from the 
approaching flood. 


WALTON REPORTER, June 13 


Sidney Center was re-visited by its seven-year plague on 
Monday, the 10th and shared its troubles brought by turbulent 
waters, with the Northfield area. In 1954, 1961 and now in 1968 
floods have struck Sidney Center . A 1,000-foot section of the 
county highway between these two villages was ripped out by the 
flood, to a depth of eight feet in some places. Several resi- 
dents of Northfie1d were rescued by firemen. 


USWB STORM DATA AND UNUSUAL WEATHER PHENOMENA, June 11, 12 


Second heavy rain in two days in Elmira area with extensive 
flooding of streets, low lying areas, and basements. 


USWB STORM DATA AND UNUSUAL WEATHER PHENOMENA, June 25 


Thunderstorm activity in southern Westchester County today 
brought torrential rains causing flooding in low lying areas. 


USWB STORM DATA AND UNUSUAL WEATHER PHENOMENA, June 25-28 


Moderate to heavy precipitation occurred almost daily over 
the State with heaviest amounts in southern two-thirds. Storm 
totals 3.3 to over 4.5 inches from Buffalo area across Finger 
Lakes to Central Mohawk Valley, with nearly 5.5 inches in Oneida 
and Madison Counties; remainder of southern two-thirds of State 
received mostly 2.0 to 3.5 inches except 4.0 inches lower Hudson 
Valley. Immense areas of State inundated due to saturated soils 
or runoff into low lying areas; major creeks and rivers remained 


- 23 - 



generally within banks. Flooded areas included cropland, city 
streets, parks, backyards, countless basements, and highways. 
Crop losses included over 5,000 acres of lettuce and onion crops 
in Orange County muckland, where loss estimated in excess of 
$1 million; harvest of ripe strawberry crops hindered by pro- 
longed rains and wet land and quality of sweet cherry crop greatly 
reduced by fruit cracking, all in Western New York; countless 
acres of hay and grain flattened by rains and associated strong 
winds in western and central counties. High water forced closing 
of about 85 miles of Barge Canal between Oneida Lake and 
Amsterdam . Excavation and construction of water pollution central 
plant at Hornell, Steuben County, sustained $100,000 damage from 
flooding. 


BATAVIA NEWS, June 26 


Genesee County was deluged by 2 1/2 inches of rain yester- 
day and today. It was one of the heaviest 24-hour rainfalls in 
area weather annals. Some city streets and lowlands south of 
Batavia were flooded. 


The down pour flooded streets in the Village of Perry and 
washed soil from road shoulders throughout the county. 


BUFFALO EVENING NEWS, June 26 


The heavy two-day rain ending this morning flooded dozens 
of streets and hundreds of basements in Western New York. 


HORNELL TRIBUNE, June 26 


Hornell's new water pollution control plant now under con- 
struction has suffered an estimated $100,000 in damage as a 
result of torrential rains which pelted the area last night and 
early today. 


SYRACUSE HERALD JOURNAL, June 26 


Nearly 2.5 inches of rain had fallen on Central New York 
by early today flooding hundreds of cellars putting many roads 
under water. At least 250 homes in the Claramont Park tract in 
Syracuse were surrounded by three to four feet of water. West 
Genesee Street and Erie Boulevard, east, were under water in 
many spots. Young Road in Mattydale was also flooded. 


CANASTOTA BEE JOURNAL, June 27 


Many village streets, residential cellar floors, and farm 
acreages were under water at Canastota yesterday as the severest 


- 24 - 



rain storm of the year struck the central New York area. From 
8 a.m. Tuesday morning to 12 noon on Wednesday a total of 
3.54 inches of rain was recorded by the official weather observer 
for the Oswego basin. 


BUFFALO COURIER EXPRESS, June 27 


Motorists in Buffalo had their problems early yesterday 
when part of Delaware Avenue was impassible for a few hours. 
In the Towns of Tonawanda , Amherst , Cheektowaga , and the village 
of Kenmore , many cellars were flooded. 


ONEIDA DISPATCH, June 27 


The downpour today caused increasing damage to both muck- 
land and upland crops and filled several new building basements 
at Oneida. 


SYRACUSE HERALD JOURNAL, June 28 


More than four days of almost continually falling rain have 
dumped more than four inches on the Upper Mohawk Valley and have 
resulted in the closing of the Barge Canal between Sylvan Beach 
and Amsterdam. Some sections of the Mohawk River have overflowed 
their banks and Rome has had flooding inside the city along Wood 
Creek. At Oriskany- the Mohawk River overflowed River Road near 
the bridge. 


ALBANY TIMES UNION, July 2 


Port Henry on the shore of Lake Champlain apparently was 
the community hit hardest by the violent shower Sunday afternoon. 
Water ran 6 to 8 inches deep in the streets for about 20 minutes. 
The village beach was washed out. 


At the Cumberland Bay Campsite at Plattsburgh about 3,000 
holidaying Canadians had their tents flooded out. 


ALBANY KNICKERBOCKER NEWS, July 2 


Early Sunday night six acres of hillside slid into the 
50-foot wide Normanskill Creek, flooding fields in Slingerlands . 


A 
/ 


- 25 - 



July Floods 


USWB STORM DATA AND UNUSUAL WEATHER PHENOMENA, July 9 


In connection with thunderstorm activity a gust of wind 
collapsed a 300-foot circus tent at Auburn , Cayuga County, during 
evening performance. Some 88 persons treated at hospitals with 
varying injuries, many others treated at scene for injuries and 
shock. Heavy rain hampered rescue efforts. Tent and property 
loss estimated at $42,000. 


AUBURN CITIZEN ADVERTISER, July 10 


The Auburn Mayor last night ordered all non-essential 
traffic off the streets during the violent electrical and rain 
storm. Streets were flooded throughout the city with power 
lines and tree limbs littering the streets. 


THE ALBANY KNICKERBOCKER NEWS, July 10 


A circus tent collapsed Tuesday night during a violent 
thunderstorm injuring 85 of an estimated 300 spectators. 


CAMILLUS ADVOCATE, July 12 


Overflowing Nine Mile Creek and a small connecting creek 
caused minor flooding of yards and streets in Camillus , July 9. 


SCHENECTADY GAZETTE, July 9 


A violent electrical storm accompanied by strong winds hit 
the Schenectady area and caused heavy flooding in many sections. 
The underpasses at Edison Ave., Weaver Street, and North Jay 
Street had at least three feet covering the pavement blocking 
through traffic for hours. The heaviest flooding was reported 
along Guilderland Avenue, Parkwood Boulevard, and Sunrise 
Boulevard in Rotterdam . Although many of Scotia's streets 
were flooded during last night's storm only Mohawk Avenue was 
partially blocked off. 


USWB STORM DATA AND UNUSUAL WEATHER PHENOMENA, July 24 


Very heavy cloudburst yielded nearly 2.0 inches of rain 
within 30 minutes today in Borough of Richmond on Staten Island . 
Total precipitation for storm 3.5 to 4.0 inches with unofficial 
measurement of 4.55 inches. Amounts decreased to about 2.0 
inches in Manhattan , Brooklyn , and Queens . Extensive flooding 
of major highways, streets, basements and all low lying areas 
occurred. 


- 26 - 



STATEN ISLAND ADVANCE, July 25 


Flood conditions, massive traffic tieups, electrical power 
and telephone failures, the effects of yesterday's sudden rain- 
storm on Staten Island were still being felt today. Curb to 
curb flooding was reported in nearly every community yesterday, 
causing traffic jams as much as a mile in length on some of the 
Island's main roads. Nearly 5,100 telephones on the Island were 
knocked out by the storm. Many yards and cellars were flooded. 


SYRACUSE HERALD JOURNAL, August 2 


Jordan officials were seeking the aid of the Army Corps of 
Engineers to clean up silt, rocks and debris strewn about 
Skaneateles Creek by flood waters July 9. During this storm a 
large amount of water was released from Skaneateles Lake. This 
water filled the stream to the top of its banks in the village 
and left boulders, tree limbs and a large amount of gravel and 
silt when it receded. 


August Floods 


USWB STORM DATA AND UNUSUAL WEATHER PHENOMENA, August 7 


Afternoon thunderstorms in Buffalo area caused widespread 
power failures and flooding in city and suburbs. 


USWB STORM DATA AND UNUSUAL WEATHER PHENOMENA, August 9 


Winds gusting to 50 mph and heavy rains downed trees and 
flooded wide areas in southern half of Albany County. Main 
streets blocked in sections of City of Albany . 


Thunderstorms accompanied by heavy rains occurred from 
Chautauqua County northeastward to Monroe and Ontario Counties. 
Widespread flooding in Dunkirk - Fredonia areas resulted from 
24-hour rains of 2.6 inches. Some small streams draining into 
Lake Erie overflowed and flooded nearby fields and pastures. 
Total of 2.39 inches at Rochester , heaviest 24-hour amount for 
month of August since 1938 and heaviest for any month in that 
city since September 1959. Extensive flooding resulted, closing 
city expressway and many streets. 


JAMESTOWN POST JOURNAL, August 24 


Heavy rains hit northern Chautauqua County in the Dunkirk - 
Fredonia area early this morning flooding highways and knocking 
out power in some sections. Street flooding was reported in 
Silver Creek and the Sunset Bay area. 


- 27 - 



September Floods 


USWB STORM DATA AND UNUSUAL WEATHER PHENOMENA, September 11 


Severe flooding resulted from thunderstorm rains totaling 
4.0 inches or more in Niagara and western Orleans Counties . 
Niagara University campus flooded by up to 4.0 feet of water 
with damage reported to basements and ground floors; school 
forced to close. Schools closed at Medina , Orleans County for 
two days due to weakened bridges along school bus routes. 
Extensive flooding of streets and low lying areas as well as 
creeks overflowed in Tonawanda , Lewiston , and Lockport areas. 
Heavy downpours also spread into northern Erie County and east- 
ward to Wayne County with totals of 2.0 to 3.0 inches of rain. 
Thunderstorms which began on the 10th yielded totals in excess 
of 3.0 inches east of Lake Ontario, in the Binghamton area and 
to Nassau County, Long Island. 


BUFFALO EVENING NEWS, September 11 


A heavy thunderstorm swept across northern Erie and Niagara 
Counties this morning, flooding some cellars, streets, and under- 
passes, and causing Niagara University to cancel its daytime 
classes. Street, underpass, and cellar flooding was reported in 
Niagara Falls , Kenmore , and Towns of Tonawanda , Amherst and 
Cheektowaga . 


NORTH TONAWANDA NEWS, September 12 


Scores of basements throughout the city of Tonawanda were 
flooded by yesterday's storm with as much as two feet of water. 
Some minor flooding was reported in Kenmore. 


NORTH TONAWANDA NEWS, September 17 


Residents in the Towns of Pendleton and Wheatfield which 
lie within the Bull Creek tributary of the Tonawanda Creek flood 
basin, watched their gardens literally float away during last 
week's downpour. Creeks and ditches overflowed their banks and 
hundreds of acres of farmland, and numerous homes were more than 
knee-deep in flood waters. 


October Floods 


USWB STORM DATA AND UNUSUAL WEATHER PHENOMENA, October 3 


Late afternoon electrical storm resulted in some damage from 
lightning strikes as well as local flooding in western third of 
the State. City streets temporarily closed by flood waters in 
Buffalo , Rochester , and neighboring cities. 


- 28 - 



OLEAN TIMES HERALD, October 19 


High water on Martin Road at Great Valley caused extensive 
damage to a bridge over Great Valley Creek early today. 


November Floods 


BINGHAMTON PRESS, November 8 


A street and a small colony of new industrial buildings 
were flooded in Johnson City last night by water from Finch 
Hollow Creek. 


NEW YORK TIMES, November 13 


A double-barreled storm raged across the metropolitan area 
yesterday on winds of gale force lashing New York, New Jersey, 
and Connecticut with rain, sleet, and snow. Serious flooding 
occurred in the coastal areas of New Jersey and Long Island. 
There were massive commuter delays on subways, railroads and 
highways. Streets and basements were flooded and beaches were 
eroded. The winds were so powerful that they made the Bronx- 
Whitestone bridge sway so badly that motorists abandoned their 
cars on the bridge and ran back to shore. Other bridges were 
closed to trucks and trailers. 


UTICA OBSERVER DISPATCH, November 19 


Oriskany Road at Marcy was under water today and creeks in 
Oneida and Herkimer counties were near flood stage after three 
days and nights of rainfall. 


December Floods 


NEW YORK NEWS, December 5 


The nearly two inches of rain that fell on New York City 
yesterday flooded streets and highways. The Borough of Queens 
was especially hard hit. 


ROCHESTER TIMES UNION, December 28 


Many underpasses were flooded in Rochester today. 


NIAGARA FALLS GAZETTE, December 29 


Flooding was reported on the south side of Syracuse 
yesterday with several main highways closed. 


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BUFFALO COURIER EXPRESS, December 29 


Ice plugged sewers in the south Buffalo area flooded base- 
ments and viaducts and the overflowing Cazenovia Creek stranded 
some homeowners in West Seneca today. Flood water also closed 
about a dozen roads in Chautauqua County. At Dunkirk one street 
was closed by a flooded underpass. 


POUGHKEEPSIE JOURNAL, December 29 


A freak thunderstorm that hit Dutchess County about 6:30 p.m. 
Saturday dumped over a quarter inch of rain in less than one- 
half hour, brought traffic to a crawl, and flooded a few streets. 


JAMESTOWN POST JOURNAL, December 30 


A fierce thunderstorm struck the Jamestown area Saturday 
with 1.25 inches of rain flooding several county and state roads. 


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